Venta Maersk Completes Northern Sea Route Passage
On September 28, Venta Maersk called the port of Saint Petersburg, Russia, successfully completing her trial passage of the Northern Sea Route.
One of Maersk Line’s new Baltic feeders, she embarked on the voyage departing from Vladivostok on August 22. On her complete voyage, from Busan to Bremerhaven, Venta Maersk carried 660 reefer containers.
The trial was designed to give the company operational experience along the Arctic route, test vessel systems, crew capabilities and the functionality of shore based support. While the passage is feasible around this time of the year and marked by a lack of obstructive ice, ice conditions in the East Siberian Sea required assistance by icebreakers. Before the voyage, the Venta Maersk crew underwent special training and were joined by Northern Sea Route certified ice pilots during the entire transit.
Maersk underlines that this was a one-off trial designed to gain operational experience in a new area and to test vessel systems: “Currently, we do not see the Northern Sea Route as a viable commercial alternative to existing east-west routes. In general, we plan new services according to trading patterns, population centers and our customers demand,” said Palle Laursen, Chief Technical Officer at Maersk.
“That said, we do follow the development of the Northern Sea Route. Today, the passage is only feasible for around three month a year which may change with time. Furthermore, we also must consider that ice-classed vessels are required to make the passage, which means an additional investment.”
Maersk Line’ s new Baltic feeders are among the world’s largest ice-class vessels designed specifically to operate in cold waters (down to -25 degrees C), where ice-class (stronger hull) is required to offer year-round operations. They have a nominal capacity of 3,596 TEU and is equipped with 600 reefer plugs.
Venta Maersk is the fourth of seven sister vessels and was delivered on July 11, 2018. Her already delivered sister ships are deployed in the Sealand – A Maersk company (formerly known as Seago Line’s) Baltic feeder network serving Russia and calling St. Petersburg. They have sheltered forecastle deck for safe mooring operations in winter conditions and enclosed bridge wings for safe maneuvering and harbor approach. Their propeller and rudder design has been optimized for lowest fuel consumption.